Texas City Disaster

Texas City Disaster

Docked in Texas City, TX, the S.S. Grandcamp, loaded with a cargo 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, suddenly and mysteriously caught fire. After failed attempts to extinguish the flames, the cargo exploded, launching the cargo 2,000-3,000 feet in the air and causing a 15-foot tidal wave.  The shock could be felt as far as 250 miles away. The S.S. High Flyer, also loaded with ammonium nitrate, ignited and also exploded 16 hours later.—NOAA

Date of event: April 16, 1947


  • Nearly 600 confirmed fatalities
  • Thousands injured
  • Town decimated

Related Resources:

HSDL Featured Topic: Maritime Domain

HSDL Search: Texas City 1947

Photo: (Credit: Alfred S. Gerson/wiki user)The Wilson B. Keene. The large piece of shrapnel in the foreground is probably a piece of the Grandcamp.


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